Today, stewing in my triple-digit-temperature sodden juices, I had the evil idea of doing a post on my latest bowl of Bun Bo Hue, or perhaps another Pho post. But just the thought of looking at a photo of a steaming bowl of Pho, was just a bit too much for me. So instead, let's just go directly to our current favorite Dim Sum Restaurant, Sea Harbour in Rosemead. When folks say they're going to LA, and want a recommendation for Dim Sum, I'll usually recommend Sea Harbour. Heck, when Ed from Yuma, wanted a couple of recommendations for Seafood Restaurants in LA, Sea Harbour was on that short list. And based on his post, Ed really enjoyed his meal at Sea Harbour. And if you needed another seal of approval, during our visit to Urasawa, Hiro-san himself told me that his favorite restaurant is Sea Harbour. Need I say more? You probably notice a dearth of posts on Dim Sum in San Diego...... that's mainly because the wild swings in quality and mixed experiences over the years have made us a bit "gun shy", after all, the usual layout of funds for a good dim sum meal, exceeds the risk associated with a good bowl of soup! Especially when the return on investment for dim sum in San Diego during the last few years have crashed faster than the stock market.....
On weekends there will usually always be a wait at Sea Harbour..... even if you arrive before the 1030 am opening, it's likely you'll be standing behind someone who got there even earlier than you. Still, if you get there before 11am, on a normal weekend, it's likely the wait won't be too long. Turnover is very quick here.....
It's always quite an effort to decide on what to eat. As much as Siu Mai would seem a "no-brainer", a visit to Sea Harbour is something of a special meal for us, so I've yet to have that here. The standard Char Siu Bao, is usually persona non-grata during our Dim Sum meals, as the Missus hails from Shandong and Beijing, and the dough is much too sweet for Her tastes.
So we tend toward the dishes that are not quite the norm for a typical Dim Sum meal. On this day, things started off with the Baby Pak Choy with Ginko and Bean Curd Sheets:
This was almost an entree sized dish. The pak choy was prepared perfectly, still crunchy, not saturated. We both love bean curd sheets. The broth was a light, but tasty chicken stock. The only negative for us in this dish were the ginko nuts. They were very bitter. I have been using ginko nuts a lot recently, and immediately knew these were not prepared well, the texture was mushy, and the flavor unpleasant. Still, the pak choy was good, even as leftovers.
The Shrimp, Dry Scallop, and Chinese Celery Dumplings were excellent.
Over the years, I've resigned myself to either overly sticky, or brittle and ripped wrappers for steamed dumplings. These on the other hand were perfect; with just enough pull. The amount of Chinese Celery was just right, adding that wonderful palate cleansing effect. The size of the cut was good as well; you knew you were having Chinese Celery. The shrimp was flavorful; and even though we really couldn't make out a dried scallop umami, the proportion of the other ingredients was just right for our tastes. We really should be having more of the steamed dumplings at Sea Harbour.
Though it's really hard when you see stuff like Foie-Gras Minced Beef with Spinach on the menu.
We were split on the Cheong Fun with Bittermelon and Chicken.
The Missus thought that while the bittermelon was perfectly cooked, it was much too bitter for Her. I on the other hand enjoyed this. We both thought that the sauce for the Cheong Fun had a good salty-sweet balance to it.
The biggest disappointment of the day were the French Style Goose Liver Won Ton.
Very bland won tons (where was the goose liver?), in an insipid broth. This dish was very disappointing, as both the won tons and the broth lacked flavor.
Second place for most disappointing dish was the Fish Cake with Corn and Peas.
Which also suffered from the blandness bugaboo. This one almost got me to request soy sauce and chili paste, which is not provided on each table like the typical Dim Sum Restaurant. I can understand the desire to have each customer taste the real flavor and quality of each item ordered. But man, this was fairly tasteless.
The Missus and I were split on the Pan Grilled Spinach Pork Bun.
The Missus thought these were too sweet (of course), and too light and fluffy (???). I thought the sweetness wasn't over-powering, and really enjoyed the shrimp in the Buns. I'd have these again, but don't think the Missus would allow me to order them.
As a whole, we really enjoyed this meal, and ended up with some leftovers. And even though we ordered several of the most expensive items on the Dim Sum menu, our bill came out to a tad over $40, much less then we had expected spending.
Leaving, we noticed the huge crowd waiting outside the restaurant, braving temperatures that were surely approaching a hundred degrees. It left me wondering if I'd be willing to wait in this heat. Perhaps not, but we still think of Sea Harbour as one of the better spots for Dim Sum.
I'm always attracted to the "Chicken in the parking lot" here, and am racking my brains to recall what this place was before Sea Harbour. Maybe you'll be able to tell me.....
Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant
3939 Rosemead Blvd
Rosemead, CA 91770